Originally posted on British Museum blog:
Michaela Binder, Durham University
After spending four months in the British Museum analysing skeletons from the ancient Egyptian town of Amara West this summer, our picture of health and living conditions there is becoming a little clearer.
I have now analysed 130 complete or almost complete individuals. My analyses indicate 35% of the individuals were sub-adults, which in itself is not surprising and not that high compared to other groups in antiquity. However, it is interesting to see only a very small number of children under the age of five, as very young children are generally more vulnerable to diseases. High percentages of infants in cemeteries are often an indicator of bad living conditions, and at Amara West, their absence is striking but could be explained by different burial rites – young children may have been buried elsewhere.